11. Technology and the Law
Recall the chapter regarding contracts; specifically, regarding the required elements of any contract. As businesses move the operational aspects online, the challenge becomes how to manage contract relationships in that new online world. For example:
- What is the validity of an electronic signature?
- How is consent formed?
- How do you know the person agreeing to the contract is sober?
- What if the person is underage?
- What is the jurisdiction for the contract?
These are just some simple examples, but they illustrate the added level of complexity for managing contracts in an online world. It is important to understand that all contract law elements apply in an online world. Governments are trying to address many of these issues. For example, in Canada the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act provides guidelines for online contract management that many provinces are now following.